Thanks to all of the researchers who have supported this grassroots movement, GreenLabs is now being fully integrated and supported by the University. The program will expand as two groups of people take on responsibilities pertaining to making our laboratories more sustainable and safe.
A GreenLabs group led my My Green Lab and composed of members of facilities, the Office of Research Safety, etc, will implement division-wide energy-saving, water-saving, and waste reduction projects. The SAS (Safety and Sustainability) Team will also be formed to implement safety and sustainability programs in every lab across the BSD. If you are interested in getting involved with the SAS Team, please email GreenLabs@uchicago.edu.
Laboratories utilize a large fraction of the energy used on campus due to the multitude of electrical devices such as freezers, refrigerators, and centrifuges as well as HVAC systems. In addition to the energy used by research spaces, laboratories generate a very large waste stream that cannot be reused or recycled, burdening the public and the environment with pollution. Across the country and around the world, top research institutions are striving to reduce their environmental footprint with the implementation of various protocols, certifications, and energy saving practices. Simple strategies such as the use of energy efficient appliances, efficient fume hood use, and better recycling in labs have significantly reduced carbon dioxide emissions and waste creation.
GreenLabs at the University of Chicago aims to guide laboratories towards reducing their environmental impact.
The major aims of the program include, but are not limited to the following:
1. Energy Conservation: use of equipment, lights, fume hoods, refrigerators, freezers, computers.
2. Water Conservation: behavioral changes, use of water aerators, vacuum pumps instead of vacuum aspiration.
3. Waste Reduction: Kimberly-Clark Nitrile Glove recycling, reusing, reducing printing, bulk purchasing.
4. Purchasing: use of green cleaning products, purchasing materials with recycled content, purchasing from campus stockrooms, consulting Labshare or nearby universities/labs for chemicals before ordering, ordering supplies in the fewest possible shipments, ordering more environmentally-friendly chemicals and reagents.
Learn how your lab can implement sustainable lab practices in each of these categories by becoming GreenLabs Certified or visiting the links at the top of the page!